Social (Media) Irresponsibility…

A lot has been said about the rights of the consumer. Thanks to social media everyone is a potential champion of these rights. That’s cool. I’m all about empowering consumers to push back against shoddy services, poor products and unfulfilled brand promises. What isn’t cool, is the rising level of entitlement by consumers.

On Friday, I witnessed some of this attitude. Here’s a screenshot that explains the entire story (click the pic to visit the source site/opens in new window):

So, because the person in question was rear-ended in the vicinity of a brand, she feels the brand has to compensate her. That’s not the worst of it. A pair of “supporters” have also lent their voices to the “cause”, threatening all kinds of things (Twitter trends of biblical proportions, setting up Nivea as a brand that doesn’t care about tail lights, etc.). Click the pics to enlarge (opens in new window):

You’ll notice that they don’t acknowledge Nivea’s responses to them, other than to show more petulance, of course. By the way, kudos to Ms Naidoo for pointing out that Nivea had indeed responded.

Moreover, it’s interesting to note that on the blog of the offended party, the misleading statements regarding the deletion of the complaint have not been corrected (as of the writing of this post. A new post has finally been published acknowledging the error by the author). Poor showing from a group of people who claim to understand social media. Click the pics to enlarge (opens in new window):

The absurdity of this case is mind-blowing but it also indicates the ridiculous levels of entitlement that colour consumer rights. Again, don’t get me wrong: consumer rights must be protected and enforced. However, in an online conversation with Daniel Neville of Idea Bounty, he observed that “as much responsibility rests on the consumers shoulders to have realistic expectations of a brand as the brand itself has a responsibility to engage with and meet customers expectations effectively.” Read it again because it’s a powerful statement. Daniel calls it Responsible Consumerism.

You could also call it common sense.

And it’s drastically lacking out there in Social Media land. Yes, stand up for your rights by all means, but let’s not turn this valuable source of consumer power into whine forum. By doing that, we rob ourselves of influence and lose all those valuable rights. In short, we’ll be right back where we started.

So what do you think? Do we need these consumer responsibilities as much as we need consumer rights?

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7 thoughts on “Social (Media) Irresponsibility…

  1. Good post. What people are not asking is what exactly Nivea has to do with the fact that the people in question were not observing a safe following distance. Is Nivea now responsible for enforcing traffic laws as well?

    • I chatted to a member of the legal fraternity and was assured that the chances of Nivea being held legally liable for the damages were slim to none.
      The whole incident seems to be rather paper-thin.

  2. This is like one of those ‘Leave Justin Bieber/Britney alooone’ videos. They’re raging about something that’s not really important. Did a Nivea product give her warts or boils or some shit? NOooooO! How on earth was Nivea supposed to know this was going to happen?! Promo girl was just obviously doing her job trying to get flyers out. I don’t really think anyone can be blamed in this case, let alone have to fork out cash for a taillight. O_O

  3. Tail light? how about lawsuit?
    using what common sense I have and in support of the commentor above- she was hit from behind, at an intersection- where drivers STOP! If the person behind wasn’t concentrating and used her tail light as a means to stop that is whom she ought to engage. Again there are laws that entitle her to recover her costs from the relevant party.
    It is in Nivea’s interest to play nice but they could just as easily sue for slander, really now posting threats on social media networks; in her own words “social media suicide, much?”

  4. Great article… People use their SM power in the wrong ways and it makes them look like idiots.

    The parties involved and all their followers look like a bunch of over sensitive whiney rich kids.

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